As I write, the polls remain open for several more hours in New York state’s Primary election, with endless analyses of what it all might mean….
A few hours ago I had occasion to be in downtown Minneapolis to deliver something to the Canadian Consulate at 7th Street and 4th Ave S, across the street from the Hennepin County Government Center.
A block from my destination this billboard was impossible to miss:
(click to enlarge)
One is left to speculate why only Hillary and Trump are mentioned; why the first name for one and last name for the other, respectively. Why the other candidates are left off. It all has meaning to the massive car dealer for whatever reason. It obviously is not considered bad for business, and there is no intention for informed argument in the ads: just single word labels. The reader can fill in the blank with other words. It’s so American.
One of the candidates, in recent days, was “testing” the word “corrupt” as a one-word label of an opponent. It was just a test of a word, not a test of fact. It might be useful.
We are so proud of our democracy. Proud, I suppose, of our national ritual to attempt to destroy the opposition and then, later, to pretend that the previous conversation didn’t matter. So, in New York, Hillary and Bernie try to score points to “win” at the end of the day; as do Donald, John, Ted on the other side.
And much is then made of what it all might mean.
And tomorrow another round begins, this time in other northeast states.
The national culture of disrespect of our leaders, past and proposed, is not helpful. We are all losers.
I keep thinking back to that 25 years ago guy, Robert Fulghum, who published “All I ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”
You can buy the book at his website.
It really isn’t necessary. Teachers still teach kindergarten the same way.
And sanctioned disrepect (bullying, name calling and the like) is universally condemned in school settings, while we look forward to combat in politics.
Our country, we all, need to take a look at ourselves.
from Joni, school Principal: Thanks for sharing your latest blog post. I don’t think that I could have said it any better.
from Fred: Well said Dick. Indeed, this campaign is making us all losers.
from Dick: It will have to get much worse before it gets better…and by then we’ll be the “third world” country that we like to despise. I have come to believe we are a society of hopelessly addicted individualists who actually demand the theater that we seem to despise. As a result, we all lose. I could articulate many examples, just from my personal surroundings.
Frederick Douglass, the famous civil rights leader in 1857, the days which birthed Abraham Lincoln, said it well: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” (in 8th para beginning “This struggle….”)
We voters possess all the power, but we do so as individuals, with individual demands, and as a result most choose to be powerless.
A big repetitive threat I see all the time is variations on the phrase: “If the right candidate isn’t nominated, I won’t vote for anybody” (or, alternatively, for someone who has no chance whatever) The speaker always declares this in a most powerful way, as if not voting at all will make a difference in his or her favor…. They might think there’s logic there, but the logic escapes me. They simply disenfranchise themselves, and increase the odds that the worst of their own personal options will be selected. So, on we go.
from Mary in New York: I appreciate the comments in the blog but I have certainly come to understand that we have some serious flaws that need addressing in our political process. It is quite interesting how tentative most candidates and elected officials have been in addressing some of the issues. I really wish that the blue collar billionaire and the frantic female in this contest could present their platforms for reform in a more palatable way. The crude X on the scrap of paper that defines the vote in some of the less developed parts of the world is looking better than the politically correct slander that currently defines the American Way.
Love the drama around being a New Yocker and wish you a good week.
from Dick 5 a.m. CDT, April 20: Many thanks.
I awoke to the same Just Above Sunset I read every day, to get a digest of sort about the national perspective. In this one he deals with the New York election, just about wrapped up (he seems to publish, usually, about midnight in Los Angeles. He’s like me, a retired guy. He’s a gifted writer, and he has credentials and, to my knowledge, like myself, expresses his own opinion through the comments he chooses to share, not bought and paid for by anyone. He just likes to write. For the interested reader, his is always an interesting read.)
It is no secret at all that I support Hillary Clinton. She’s the kind of person this country needs as a leader, as President. She’s far more than paid her dues, having to make numerous difficult decisions. (The root of that word “decision” is to kill off other options: think suicide, homicide, insecticide…. Leaders have to make tough decisions, all the time.)
I’ve just gone through a rough year of having to make endless decisions about stuff in a family estate with a lot of heirs. I’m the Trustee of a Trust. It is a very small deal compared with state, national, international policy questions, but rest assured every decision has been preceded by a number of choices, each one of which might be preferred by someone or other, every one which could have been “wrong”, and perhaps a bad mistake. Somebody could, I’m sure, find some grounds to sue me for something or other I did “wrong”, in their view. I was willing to take on the task (as a candidate agrees to stand for election); sometimes I wondered why…and closing the Estate still isn’t quite complete.
I emphasize, I’m not complaining.
This is just a reality faced every day by everyone faced with an array of possible choices, with differences of opinions. Government is no different, only much more difficult, in the case of US, the U.S., over 320,000,000 people in a world of over 7 billion.
No different, just a lot tougher.
from Norm, 10 a.m. Apr 20: Right on with your observations about our apparent need to tear down our political leaders and candidates. It appears to be something ingrained in us and something that we cannot avoid doing.
As a son of a long-time elected public official, i.e. Minnesota state senate, I learned early on that the public views such folks with a mixed bag of characterizations from very effective to does nothing to he/she is not responsive or he/she is in the pocket of or he/she has been in too long (folks quickly forget that Minnesota does have term limits and that they are called elections!) or we thought that he/she really was “on our side” but once he/she got in office, he/she (fill in the blanks).
A good example comes to mind of that mixed bag of characterizations noted above. I can remember an Obama supporter who was an avid supporter of his in 2008 who was convinced that once in office, the new president would set things straight and change the course from evil to good.
Less than three months after Obama was given the keys to the house on Pennsylvania Avenue, she loudly proclaimed her disappointment over the new president and his failure to do everything that he had promised. So, in less that three months, he had gone from being the proclaimed savior of the country to an abject failure in the eyes of his former supporter.
I don’t know if she seriously thought that the new president could just wave a magic wand and everything would be back on course or what but…
from Dick, 24 hours later…in the aftermath of New York
A day ago – 4 p.m. on April 19, New York Primary day – I posted about one aspect of the New York Primary Election. It, along with several comments, is “above the fold”.
The Republican National Convention is July 21-28 in Cleveland (Quicken Loans Arena); the Democrat gathering July 25-28 in Philadelphia (Wells Fargo Center).
Three months is a long, long time in politics. Election Day, November 8 is over six months out. That is a near lifetime. Still we’ll be treated to minute-by-minute play-by-play between now and then.
There is some entertainment value in all of this. Quicken and Wells Fargo bought the naming rights to these local civic institutions. They have lots and lots of money.
Yesterday while taking the photo of the billboard, I happened to notice another interesting piece of signage on the east edge of downtown at another almost complete arena, the place where the Minnesota Vikings will soon play. Here it is:
(click to enlarge)
Of course, locals will recognize this place, missing part of the name, a bank with lots and lots of money.
For the moment, I’ll allow that bank, owner of the name of the new football stadium, to go unrecognized. Everything is a billboard for hire these days, and as bank robber Willy Sutton liked to say, “that’s where the money is”.
But I digress. Politics is serious business.
Yesterday in New York will be spun as it will be spun by the parties and the surrounding chattering class.
I am guessing there are lots of earnest conversations going on within the power actors ‘as we speak’ about what New York means.
I’ll give my opinion as much credence as anyone else.
The Republican Party as very broadly defined has been hard at work for many years to essentially make Democrats like myself irrelevant, hoping to take control of the three branches of government and governorships and state legislatures.
It has been remarkably effective.
But Tuesday sort of signifies a wakeup call for the bunch going to Cleveland in July.
A carefully nurtured base wants Donald Trump as the Republican candidate for President; Republican insiders are in a quandary, they despise Trump. Contender Ted Cruz came in third, so much for his invincibility. Ted Cruz is also despised by the Republican power-structure, or so we hear. He’s second choice of the Republican electors.
Kasich seems to be going nowhere fast. Paul Ryan, I still think, will be the “fair-haired boy”, the “Knight in Shining Armor” before this is all over.
As for Hillary, for years, the same Republican apparatus has been actively working to destroy Hillary Clinton by any means at their disposal. Secretary Clinton fixes this at the last 25 years, which would ring true, as her husband became President in 1991, and she became an activist First Lady, and she was despised. Remember her efforts at Health Care Reform back in the early days of the Bill Clinton administration? Remember how that went over? Remember the “Harry and Louise” ads financed by the Health Insurance Industry?
And then she earned positions of Senator from New York, and Secretary of State, which required her to make endless tough decisions. That contributed to the opportunity for effective hate messages. She couldn’t do everything everybody wanted. As an elected representative you represent a broad constituency with many needs and beliefs. She represented a state, then a country….
Give anyone of us 25 years of hate-messages from someone and consider the effects that it would have (go to snopes.com sometime and put hillary clinton in the search box…. No matter how decent we could be shown to be, people tend to gravitate towards the down and dirty, nasty, narratives especially about other people.
Hate speech works.
Long ago George Orwell in 1984 hi-lited what he called the “the two minute hate” (or something like that), which kept the Proles energized against an invisible enemy.
Hate messages are nothing new….
Keep that in mind, as you assess the real Hillary Clinton (as opposed to the one manufactured by her opposition).
April 21: This mornings Just Above Sunset (April 20) does another good job of capsulizing the events in New York on Tuesday.
What it all means depends on who does the interpreting. As Fox News liked to say, “we report, you decide”.